10 best draft picks in Clippers history, ranked

More than 50 years after they entered the NBA as the Buffalo Braves in 1970, the Los Angeles Clippers are still yet to achieve the ultimate success. They’ve never even made it out of the Western Conference, and up until 2010 were wildly unsuccessful, making the postseason just seven times in 40 years.

But despite that lack of success, they’ve managed to make a few savvy selections on draft night. Unsurprisingly, a couple of the best of those came just prior to their aforementioned turnaround in fortunes, though they did also make some good pick ups during their less successful periods. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ten best draft picks in Clippers history.

10. Michael Cage (Pick 14, 1984)

Michael Cage wasn’t the Clippers’ first pick in the 1984 draft, but he was their best one. He only played around 20 minutes per game and didn’t exactly fill the stats sheet in his first couple of seasons, but in season three he upped his output significantly to average 15.7 points and 11.5 rebounds, while the year after he averaged 14.5 points and 13.0 rebounds, enough for him to lead the league in the latter statistic. But that was all she wrote as far as his career with the Clippers went, and he was traded to the Supersonics after that season.

9. Loy Vaught (Pick 13, 1990)

After not making the playoffs for 14 seasons, the Clippers picked up Vaught with the 13th pick in 1990, and though he took a little while to make an impact, he ultimately went on to have a really solid career for the franchise. In all he played eight seasons with the Clippers, and at the peak of his powers averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists. Injuries meant he played just ten games in 1997-98 after three very good previous seasons, after which he was moved to Detroit. He would never again reach the heights that he had in Los Angeles.

8. Ken Norman (Pick 19, 1987)

Like Michael Cage, Ken Norman wasn’t the Clippers’ first pick in 1987. They had two before him, but neither of those made much of an impact, and it was instead with the 19th pick where they found their diamond in the rough. Norman would go on to play six seasons with the Clippers, averaging at least 15 point on over 50% shooting in four of those. The 1988-89 season was his best; in it, he averaged 18.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Unfortunately, the Clippers didn’t enjoy much success while he was there, and he signed as a free agent with the Bucks in 1993.

7. Lamar Odom (Pick 4, 1999)

The fourth pick in the 1999 draft, Lamar Odom had a long and relatively successful career in the NBA, and if a larger portion of it had been spent with the Clippers then he would likely be higher on this list. In all he spent just four seasons in Los Angeles, but he had a big impact in both of them. He wasted no time making his mark on the NBA, averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his rookie season en route to a NBA All-Rookie First Team selection, and would put up similar numbers in his next three years there. In the last of those, however, he played only 43 games, and subsequently headed to Miami after the Clippers opted not to sign an offer the Heat made for the restricted free agent.

6. Chris Kaman (Pick 6, 2003)

Chris Kaman had a fair bit of pressure on his shoulders coming into the NBA given who was picked ahead of him in the 2003 – a list which includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. But while his career may have fallen a fair way short of the first three of those in particular, Kaman was still one of the better starting centers in the NBA during his heyday. He spent eight years with the Clippers, and was selected to the All-Star team in 2010 during a season in which he averaged 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds. In 2011 he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets, paving the way for another dominant Clippers center – who is ahead of him on this list – to make his mark on the team.

5. Danny Manning (Pick 1, 1988)

After being selected with the first pick in 1988, Danny Manning endured an ignominious start to his NBA career. In his first 26 games he averaged an impressive 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists, but unfortunately that was as far as his rookie season went. He suffered an ACL injury which would see him miss the rest of that season, but he returned impressively the next season and put up similar numbers. In all he played six seasons with the Clippers, making the All-Star team in the last two of them. After being traded to the Hawks thereafter he spent another ten seasons in the league, but none of them were as good as what he produced in Los Angeles.

4. Deandre Jordan (Pick 35, 2008)

After being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft, no one could have predicted the impact that Deandre Jordan would go on to have on the Clippers franchise. For ten seasons he was a key member of the Lob City trio, regularly on the receiving end of Chris Paul’s famed passing ability, while he also happened to be as good as anyone on the glass for a long period. In the last five of his ten seasons with the Clippers he averaged at least 13.5 boards, leading the league in that category twice, while he was also a 2x All-Defensive First Team member, 2x All-NBA Third Team member and 1x All-Star. Unfortunately that talented team didn’t quite do the damage in the postseason which many expected of them, but Jordan was still a brilliant pick up, particularly at number 35 in the draft.

3. Bob McAdoo (Pick 2, 1972)

Just a couple of years into their life in the NBA, the Clippers – then the Buffalo Braves – drafted Bob McAdoo with the second pick, and with it secured one of the most talented players to wear their uniform. In his first season he won the Rookie of the Year Award with 18.0 points and 9.1 rebounds – in the next those numbers jumped up to a huge 30.6 and 15.1, while the year after he averaged 34.5 points and 14.1 rebounds. Unsurprisingly he was an NBA All-Star and All-NBA both those years, while in the second of them he was the league MVP. Midway through the 1976-77 season, however, he was traded, bringing to an abrupt end a short but brilliant career with the Clippers. McAdoo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

2. Randy Smith (Pick 104, 1971)

You don’t have to do all that much to be considered a value selection at pick 104, but Smith went above and beyond in ticking that box. Dare I say it, he’d have to be the best pick 104 in league history! In eight years with the Clippers, Smith was a 2x All-Star – in 1978 winning the All-Star Game MVP – and the 18.4 points per game he averaged in that time were enough to take him to the top of the franchise’s all-time scoring list, where he remains to this day. Regardless of where he was picked, Randy Smith was a very good player for the Clippers, and at pick 104 he was the proverbial needle in a haystack if ever there was one.

1. Blake Griffin (Pick 1, 2009)

Blake Griffin’s otherwordly athleticism made him an exciting number one pick for a team with which that word had rarely been associated, but unfortunately his career got off to a bad start when a knee injury kept him off the court for nearly the entirety of his rookie season. Over the next eight seasons, however, he more than made up for that. Griffin made the Clippers compelling viewing during his time in Los Angeles, and was a 5x All-Star and 4x All-NBA for the team. They finished in the top five in the Western Conference for six consecutive seasons with Griffin leading the way – the most successful period of the team’s history – though unfortunately they didn’t enjoy the playoff success that many expected, and Griffin’s career with them ended on something of a sour note when he was unexpectedly traded soon after signing a monster five-year deal with the team. But despite that ending to his life as a Clipper, Griffin remains a key part of the franchise’s most successful era to date, and is clearly the best draft pick in their history.

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Kyrie Irving shares bold NBA declaration he wrote in 4th grade and fulfilled

Manifestation is a tool used by many professional athletes around the world, and for Kyrie Irving that process appears to have started earlier than most. The Dallas Mavericks star shared a post on Twitter with an image of a note he wrote to himself way back in 4th Grade.

The content of the note? “I AM GOING TO THE NBA!! Promise.”

Of course, a few years later, he was the number one draft pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving has gone above and beyond the goal set out in the note, too – 12 years on from draft day he’s an NBA champion, an 8x NBA All-Star, a 3x All-NBA member, and the list goes.

Having written the note in 4th Grade, he was still clearly many years away from fulfilling his goal, but within a few years the undeniable talent of the man was plain to see. In high school, Irving represented Montclair Kimberley Academy as a sophomore and a freshman and was pretty damn good, averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 3.6 steals.

He subsequently moved to St. Patrick High School, which he felt would provide him with a bigger challenge. His numbers would suggest it did, but he didn’t exactly struggle, averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals en route to a New Jersey Tournament of Champions title.

After a brilliant high school career, Irving joined Duke and played a season under acclaimed coach Mike Krzyzewski. But with a potential three more years of college basketball ahead of him, he instead opted to nominate for the NBA draft as a 19-year-old, fulfilling his 4th Grade dream in the process.

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‘Who the f**k is this’: Pacers’ Myles Turner rips former 1st rounder in hilarious 2015 NBA Draft story

Myles Turner has quietly carved out a niche for himself as one of the best centers in the NBA. Turner averaged 18.0 points and 7.5 rebounds last season for the Indiana Pacers as the team battled it out in the NBA Central Division.

Turner hasn’t made the list of the ten greatest players in Pacers franchise history yet, but he has certainly made a name for himself in the Hoosier State. The Pacers, including star guard Tyrese Haliburton, have circled one game on the calendar for 2024 that has fans talking.

Recently Turner spoke about his experiences at the 2015 NBA Draft. Turner came out of Austin, Texas where he played center for the Longhorns. He recalls the draft process and wondering about a player taken ahead of him who has since been forgotten: former Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja.

Hezonja, an athletic guard from Croatia, was taken number five overall in that year’s draft. According to Turner, the experience was difficult to say the least.

Since the draft, the athletic Pacers center has put it all in perspective. He understands why everything worked out the way it did, while hilariously recalling his reaction to the Orlando Magic’s selection of Hezonja at pick number five.

As the Pacers prepare for the 2023-2024 season, all eyes are on a team that seems stuck in limbo at times. The team’s core of Haliburton, Turner, Buddy Hield and Benedict Mathurin comprise an elite unit of high fliers, scorers and three-point shooters.

If the Pacers can come together as a team and maximize each player on the roster’s talent, Turner could find himself on the short list of top players in the Eastern Conference next season — not just among NBA diehards, but also among fans of the world’s preeminent basketball league, the National Basketball Association, in general.

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8 best draft picks in Wizards history, ranked

In their various forms – which has included the Chicago Packers, Chicago Zephyrs, Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, Washington Bullets and finally Washington Wizards – the Wizards have been around for over 60 years. Though they haven’t been the most successful team in the league in that time, having been around for so long they have unsurprisingly enjoyed plenty of success on draft night. A lot of that was closer to the beginning of their franchise’s existence, but they’ve also had a couple of big names picked up over the past decade or so. With that in mind, these are the eight best draft picks in Wizards franchise history.

8. Tom Gugliotta (Pick 6, 1992)

After missing the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, the Wizards badly needed to find a good player in the 1992 draft, and in Tom Gugliotta they found just that. Unfortunately, he would play just over two seasons with the team, going on to play the bulk of a very good career at a number of franchises. In his first two seasons, however, he still had a markedly positive impact. In his first, he averaged 14.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals, being voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as a result. His next year was even better, with 17.1 points per game coming from his 35.8 minutes. He’d play just six more games for the team, but he was traded for Chris Webber, so it wasn’t all bad for the Wizards.

7. Rasheed Wallace (Pick 4, 1995)

If we’re looking at this through the lens of how much a player contributed to the Wizards, Rasheed Wallace wouldn’t even warrant a mention. But for pure ability and the quality of the pick itself given the career with the Pistons he went on to have – not withstanding the fact that he left after just a season – this was about as good a selection as the Wizards have ever made. After a solid first season which saw him selected for the NBA All-Rookie Team, Wallace was traded in a move which saw the Wizards pick up Rod Strickland and Harvey Grant. Not a bad yield for Washington, though given Wallace went on to make four All-Star teams, they probably wouldn’t have minded hanging on to him.

6. Phil Chenier (Pick 4, 1971)

Phil Chenier was drafted with the fourth pick following the Wizards’ first ever trip to the NBA Finals, which resulted in an ignominious 4-0 loss to the Bucks. The next seven years included another sweep in the Finals in 1974, but Chenier ultimately helped to shape the team into one which would, in 1978, win its first, and to this date only, NBA championship. That was in his seventh of a little over eight seasons with the team, the first six of which saw him average over 20 points per game while playing at least 70 games each season. Unfortunately, a back injury meant he played only the early stages of that championship season, and he wouldn’t return the player he once was. Nonetheless, he played an unequivocally significant role in the continued competitiveness of the team, and ultimately had his jersey retired by the Wizards.

5. Gus Johnson (Pick 10, 1963)

As soon as he hit the NBA floor, it was clear that Gus Johnson had the potential to be. a great player in the league. He averaged 17.3 points and 13.6 rebounds in his first season, and was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as a result. Over the next eight seasons he would remain a dominant force both defensively and on the glass for the team, as evidenced by the five All-Star teams to which he was selected, as well as four All-NBA Second Teams and two NBA All-Defensive First Teams. A walking double-double, he averaged big numbers in every season he spent with the then Baltimore Bullets, including 20.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in his fourth season, and 18.2 points and 17.1 rebounds in his ninth and final year with the team. The number 25 that he wore throughout the course of his illustrious career was retired by the Wizards following his retirement.

4. John Wall (Pick 1, 2010)

Having won just 45 games over the preceding two years, the Wizards won the rights to a first pick which they badly needed in 2010, and used it on the wildly athletic John Wall. Though at times criticized for his relative inefficiency and lack of shooting ability in an era in which it was becoming increasingly demanded, he was a fantastic player for close to a decade for the Wizards. The aforementioned wild athleticism was on full display throughout his first seven seasons in the nation’s capital, and helped him to make five consecutive All-Star teams between 2014 and 2018. Averaging close to 20 points and ten assists virtually every year, Wall helped to drag the Wizards back into something resembling relevance, with the backcourt he formed with Bradley Beal leading them to four playoff appearances in those five years in which Wall was an All-Star. His career with the team, of course, ended in unfortunate fashion, with a heel injury being followed by an Achilles rupture and ultimately a trade to the Rockets after not playing for a year and a half. His time there, however, was enough to see him comfortably leading the franchise for assists and steals, while he sits in fourth in total points scored for them

3. Earl Monroe (Pick 2, 1967)

As the second pick in the 1967 draft there were some lofty expectations surrounding Earl Monroe when he entered the league, and he wasted no time living up to them. In his first season, Monroe averaged 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 82 games, numbers he would back up over the course of the next three seasons while playing at least 80 games in each of them. In his second season the team won 57 games in no small part due to his presence, while they also won 50 the year before, and though that number dropped to 42 in 1970-71, they made their way to their first ever NBA Finals that season. Monroe was a big reason for that, averaging 22.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in the playoffs, though he admittedly struggled in their sweep at the hands of the Bucks in the NBA Finals. That was all she wrote as far as his career in Baltimore went as he requested to be moved on, but nonetheless his jersey hangs in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

2. Bradley Beal (Pick 3, 2012)

Two years after the Wizards’ backcourt got a huge boost in the form of John Wall, Bradley Beal joined him to form what would become one of the more lethal backcourts in the NBA. Beal was always one of the better tough-shot-makers in the league and provided a perfect foil to the more ball-dominant Wall, but when his partner in crime went down with injury and was then traded, Beal showed that he was capable of being a whole lot more than just a dangerous, predominantly off-the-ball shooter. After his assist average hovered around three with Wall at the controls, once he was out of the picture Beal showed his capability as a playmaker, averaging 4.5 assists per game in 2017-18, 5.5 the next year and 6.1 the next. All this came while his scoring averages continued to rise without losing any efficiency, culminating in a 30.5-point, 6.1-assist season in 2019-20 and then 31.3 points the next. After 11 fantastic seasons of representation for the team, he moved to the Suns in the 2023 offseason to join a freakishly talented team after failing to ever get past the Conference Semis with Washington. Those years, however, were enough to have him third in assists, second in steals and second in franchise points, behind only the man ahead of him on this list.

1. Wes Unseld (Pick 2, 1968)

There are plenty of players who make a significant impact in their first year in the league, but few have had as good a debut season as Wes Unseld. The second pick in the 1968 draft, he averaged 13.8 points and a huge 18.2 rebounds in his rookie year to not just claim the Rookie of the Year, but also the league MVP. Not a bad start to life in the big league! 13 years later he had established himself as the franchise’s greatest player yet, a title he still holds today. Over that time, he was a 5x All-Star, but most importantly won the Finals MVP in the team’s first and only championship. After a slow start to that NBA Finals series, he averaged 12.3 points, 12 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Games 4, 5, 6 and 7, helping to solidify his legacy as the franchise’s best ever player, and the greatest Wizards draft pick in history.

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10 best draft picks in Jazz history, ranked

The Utah Jazz might not have ever achieved the ultimate success, but they’ve nonetheless made plenty of great selections on draft night. Those picks have helped them put together a number of quality teams – teams which were able to at least challenge for a championship, even if they couldn’t go all the way. The team which most notably did that was led by the best two draft picks, and best players, in franchise history by some way, but there have been numerous other good pick-ups along the way – these are the ten best of them.

10. Thurl Bailey (Pick 7, 1983)

Nine seasons into their existence, the Jazz were still yet to make the playoffs, having missed out five times in New Orleans and then four times in Utah. Once Thurl Bailey arrived in 1983, that all changed. Of course, that wasn’t all to do with him, or even that much to do with him at all given he had a relatively inconspicuous in the league, but he would go on to play more than eight seasons with the team, and they made the playoffs in each and every one of those. At his best he was a 20 points per game scorer on nearly 50% shooting coming predominantly off the bench behind Malone, but his productivity began to dwindle after a few years and he was shipped off to the Timberwolves partway through the 1991-92 season.

9. Andrei Kirilenko (Pick 24, 1999)

Andrei Kirilenko was a great player for the Jazz whichever way you look at it, but when you factor in the fact that he was picked at number 24 in the 1999, that selection only gets better. After Malone and Stockton left he became the face of the franchise, and his ability to stuff the stats sheet like few others made him one of the more exciting players in the league – particularly for lovers of stats. In 2003, he became just the second player in league history to compile a 5×5 game – at least five points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks – on multiple occasions. In all, Kirilenko spent ten seasons in Utah.

8. Gordon Hayward (Pick 9, 2010)

During a difficult period for the Jazz, Hayward was one of the few shining lights, with the baby-faced pick 9 improving bit by bit by bit to the point where he was an All-Star in his seventh season with the Jazz. That year he averaged 21.9 points while shooting 47.1% from the field and 39.8% from three-point range, while he also grabbed 5.4 boards and 3.5 assists. Unfortunately, that was all she wrote for his career in Utah, as he picked up his free agency option and joined the Celtics. We all remember how that went – he broke his leg in the opening minutes of his first game with his new team, and though he’s still had his moments, he hasn’t again reached the heights of his final year in Utah.

7. Deron Williams (Pick 3, 2005)

Drafted out of Illinois with the third pick in the 2005 draft, Deron Williams wasted no time showcasing his talent for the Jazz. A solid first season yielded him a spot on the All-NBA Rookie First Team, and he improved significantly in his second to average 16.2 points and 9.3 assists. By his third he was one of the better point guards in the league, and in that season and the next three he averaged at least 18.7 points and 9.7 assists per game. He was twice voted to the All-NBA Second Team during his tenure in Utah and was a two-time All-Star, too, before he headed to the Nets partway through the 2010-11 season.

6. Rudy Gobert (Pick 27, 2013)

Rudy Gobert was a speculative pick, as many at number 27 in the draft are, and for a time it looked as though it wouldn’t necessarily pay off. The lanky Frenchman had some tools – most notably a 7’9″ wingspan – but his clumsy offensive game for a long time made him something of a liability at that end of the floor. But by his fourth season, he had well and truly proved that he could make it work despite his limitations at the offensive end of the floor, and more than compensate for any shortcomings at the other end. He played nine seasons with the team before joining the Timberwolves, in that time winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award three times, making six All-Defensive First Teams, and was a 3x All-Star.

5. Donovan Mitchell (Pick 13, 2017)

Just as Gobert was beginning to establish himself as a legitimately good player and the best defender in the league, he was joined by an athletic young guard by the name of Donovan Mitchell. At pick 13, Mitchell wasn’t exactly the most highly touted player coming out of the 2017 draft, but he wasted no time proving that he should have gone higher, averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his first year. From there, he only got better, and in 2020 made his first of three consecutive All-Star appearances. His explosive scoring ability combined with a continually developing feel for the game and playmaking nous to make him one of the more dangerous guards in the league, and never was that more evident than during his remarkable tussle with Jamal Murray in their seven-game first round playoff series against Denver – a series in which Mitchell three times scored 44 points or more and twice over 50.

4. Mark Eaton (Pick 72, 1982)

Mark Eaton is far from the best player on this list, and plenty of the players you’ve already read about have him covered on pure talent pretty comfortably. But as a draft pick, this was about as inspired as they get. Eaton went at pick 72 (!!) in the 1982 draft, but despite that almost offensively low selection, the 7’4″ center would go on to play 875 games for the Jazz over the course of 11 seasons. His offensive limitations were clear, but defensively he was elite – he averaged at least 3.4 blocks in each of his first seven seasons, including an incredible 5.6 in 1984-85. By the end of his career he had five NBA All-Defensive Team appearances to his name, had racked up a couple of Defensive Player of the Year Awards, and ultimately had his jersey retired by the franchise – not bad for a pick 72.

3. Paul Millsap (Pick 47, 2006)

While we’re on the topic of elite late draft selections, let’s talk Paul Millsap. Taken all the way down at pick 47 in 2006, the versatile forward took a while to get going and two seasons into his NBA life didn’t necessarily look like having the illustrious career which he’s gone on to have. He improved significantly in his third year, in which he averaged more than 30 minutes, 13.5 points on 53.1% shooting, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He continued to put together similar, if not superior, numbers over the next few seasons, before moving to Atlanta in 2013. Unfortunately for Utah his career took off even further there, and he went on to be selected for the All-Star team four seasons in a row.

2. John Stockton (Pick 16, 1984)

The top two on this list was never going to be in any doubt. After their second Conference Finals loss in three years, they drafted John Stockton with the 16th pick in 1984. It wasn’t a selection which many expected, and no one could have predicted that by the end of his career, the unassuming point guard would be immortalised in trophy form outside the Delta Center. Stockton put together an historic 19-year career in Utah, helping the Jazz to consistently compete for a title as he ran the floor like few others in history. By the conclusion of his career he had accumulated a statistically anomalous number of assists, a category he still leads by a country mile today.

1. Karl Malone (Pick 13, 1985)

Stockton’s partner in crime was Karl Malone, a man who benefited greatly from his facilitatory friend’s ability to deliver the ball on time, and on target. Off-field behaviors aside, Malone’s career on the court was undeniable. In his 18 seasons in Utah he was a 14x All-Star, 2x league MVP, 11x All-NBA First Team member, and 3x NBA All-Defensive First Team member. His longevity and productivity mean he currently finds himself in third place in NBA history for total points scored, and the only thing really missing from his resume is – like Stockton – an NBA championship. Despite that hole in his career, however, this was a selection which changed the face of the franchise, and alongside that of Stockton is clearly the best in Jazz history.

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8 best draft picks in Grizzlies history, ranked

With less than 30 years of history to go by, the Memphis Grizzlies history of quality draft choices was never going to be as deep as some of their older opponents. But even for a side which only joined the league in 1995, there is a serious dearth of options to put on a list of the best draft choices the Grizzlies have ever made. As a result I’ve cut the list from ten to eight, but while it starts a little slow there are, at least, a couple of really good pick ups towards the top of the list, a couple of whom are playing a leading role in ushering in their exciting new era.

8. Shane Battier (Pick 6, 2001)

Battier was a quintessential glue guy, a player who was decent enough on offense, a strong defender, and who would make contributions well beyond the box score virtually every night. He spent the first five of his 13 seasons in the NBA with the Grizzlies, and the reliability which saw him play at least 78 games in each of those seasons extended beyond just his physical health. He burst out of the blocks in his first year, playing 39.7 minutes per game and averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals, and while he wouldn’t repeat those numbers again in Memphis – or in his NBA career at all – he continued to be a consistent and dependable presence on the team during their initial years in Memphis.

7. Mike Bibby (Pick 2, 1998)

At the time he was drafted, Mike Bibby was the highest pick the Grizzlies had ever had. Invariably that resulted in a lot of expectations, but he quickly showed he had the ability to live up to them, averaging 13.2 points and 6.5 assists in his first season and improving that to 15.9 points and 8.4 assists by his third. But just when he looked set to establish himself as one of the Grizzlies’ early stars, he was gone. Bibby was traded to the Kings alongside Brent Price for Jason Williams and Nick Anderson in the summer of 2001, and went on to play ten more seasons in the league.

6. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Pick 3, 1996)

Before Mike Bibby was the highest draft pick the Grizzlies had ever had, Shareef Abdur-Rahim owned that title having been selected with pick 3 in 1996. In fact, Abdur-Rahim was just their third pick ever, and he proved to be a pretty good one. He was a productive player as soon as he hit the NBA court, averaging 18.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in his first season. They were the lowest numbers he would ever average during his five-year tenure with the Grizzlies, with each of his ensuing four seasons yielding 20 or more points per game to go with plenty of rebounds. Unfortunately, in 2001 he was shipped off to the Hawks, and after having a similarly productive season there to what he had enjoyed over the previous few years with the Grizzlies, he was rewarded with his inaugural All-Star appearance.

5. Jaren Jackson Jr (Pick 4, 2018)

After a 22-win season in 2017-18, the Grizzlies picked up Jaren Jackson Jr with the fourth pick in the 2018 draft, and he has been a key cog behind their ascent up the standings over the past few years. Offensively Jackson Jr has plenty to give, as he’s shown by his ability to consistently average close to 20 points per game throughout the course of his career, but it’s at the other end of the floor where he really thrives. Blocks aren’t everything, but he gets heaps of them – in his five seasons in the NBA to date he’s averaged 1.4, 1.6, 1.6, 2.3 and then 3.0, the latter two being the most in the league. In those two seasons in which he led the league in blocks he was also named to the All-Defensive First Team, while in 2023 he was the Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson Jr has the potential to be a stalwart of the team as they enter what might be the most successful era of their team, and by the end of his career could easily be a lot higher on this list.

4. Rudy Gay (Pick 8, 2006)

Rudy Gay was technically drafted by Houston, but the Grizzlies had acquired the draft rights to him a couple of years earlier in what turned out to be a very fruitful move for the franchise. Gay averaged just 10.8 points in his first season, but in his next five full seasons in Memphis he’d average nearly double that every year, establishing himself as a really capable scorer for the team. He was far from perfect and his efficiency and style of play didn’t necessarily lend itself to quality team basketball, but on a struggling team he was a valuable player for more than six years in Memphis. Partway through his seventh season with the team, Gay was traded to the Raptors – incidentally, that year the team went on to make the Conference Finals without him and with Mike Conley and Zach Randolph taking on more significant roles.

3. Ja Morant (Pick 2, 2019)

Hopefully, within a few years Ja Morant will find himself right at the top of this list. He flew up the draft board in the lead-up to his 2019 draft and the Grizzlies were the lucky recipients, selecting him behind Zion Williamson with the second pick. He wasted no time proving that it was the right pick for the team. In his first season, he won the Rookie of the Year Award. His second was similar and he picked up no silverware for it, which is noteworthy given that in his third he won the Most Improved Player Award, was voted to the All-NBA Second Team and was an All-Star for the first time, while he was also an All-Star last season. 2022-23 was, of course, marked by a controversy which will also see him miss a large chunk of the 2023-24 season, but having just turned 24 years of age Morant still has plenty of career left ahead of him, assuming he can find his way to the straight and narrow. Perhaps the most watchable player in the league, he has well and truly put the Grizzlies on the map, and if they find their way to the Promised Land in the coming years he will likely be a driving force behind it.

2. Mike Conley (Pick 4, 2007)

The list of Grizzlies’ all-time statistical leaders is headlined by two players, and Conley is one of them. The fourth pick in the 2007 draft, Conley joined a struggling team which had won just 22 games the year he was drafted, and continued to struggle the first couple of seasons he was there. With him running the point as reliably as almost anyone in the league, however, they were able to gradually work their way up the Western Conference standings and became a consistent playoff presence during his 12-year tenure with the team. His list of accolades is a hell of a lot shorter than what he deserves and he never made the All-Star team during his time in Memphis, but he was voted to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2013 and by the conclusion of his time with the Grizzlies, had established himself as their games and points leader by a narrow margin over Marc Gasol, and their assists and steals leader by a country mile. Alongside the younger Gasol brother he is the most accomplished player in Grizzlies history, but the title of their best draft pick goes to another member of the Gasol clan.

1. Pau Gasol (Pick 3, 2001)

The fact that Pau Gasol’s career in Memphis ended with him publicly stating his desire to be traded to the Lakers left a sour taste in the mouths of many Grizzlies fans, but there’s no denying just how good a player he was for the team – and after he left it. He spent six and a half seasons in Memphis, a period during which he was the Rookie of the Year, and an All-Star. He averaged close to 20 points, ten boards and three or four dimes every season he was a Grizzly, helping to lead them from the bottom of the Western Conference when they first moved to Memphis, to a playoff team three seasons in a row – even if they were swept in the first round of all those playoffs. His leaving certainly didn’t sit well with his adoring fans, but somewhat offsetting the hurt was the fact that his trade to the Lakers brought his younger brother Marc to the team, who would of course go on to have, alongside Conley, the best career in Grizzlies history to date. He might not have had quite as long a career as Conley with Memphis, but Pau Gasol is the best draft pick this team has ever made.

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Jayson Tatum’s honest Cooper Flagg assessment will excite NBA fans

It’s safe to say Jayson Tatum knows a thing or two about what it takes to thrive at the highest levels of basketball.

The Boston Celtics franchise player won Gatorade National Player of the Year as a high school senior before taking his talents to Duke, where he made the ACC All-Freshman Team and established himself as a surefire high lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Tatum enjoyed even more immediate success in the league, helping the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals with stellar two-way play in the postseason while finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting. He enters his seventh season as a perennial MVP candidate.

Could prep sensation Cooper Flagg follow a similar trajectory? That’s asking a lot of any high-schooler, let alone one who only re-classified a year up to the Class of 2024 less than a month ago. Watching and training with Flagg at his basketball camp in August, though, left Tatum immensely impressed with the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

“I like him a lot. Obviously, he’s athletic, he can dribble, shoot,” Tatum said of Maine native, per Jeff Goodman. “The thing that impressed me was how hard he competed on both ends. He’s got an edge about him, not arrogant. He knows he’s good, but he realizes he’s got a long way to go. He’s going at guys, going at the pros. He was trying to block every shot, getting every rebound. He wasn’t playing cool. He was playing hard, competing. He was asking questions a lot, listening.”

A 6’8, 195-pound forward, Flagg staked a forceful claim as the best prospect in the world regardless of age during an utterly dominant summer circuit. Long known best for his otherworldly defensive instincts, rare athletic tools and tireless motor, he took a major step forward as an on-ball scorer, shooter and playmaker over the last few months, sparking new optimism Flagg could eventually develop into a primary offensive force in the NBA.

Does that sound like any player you know? Flagg is a more disruptive defender than Tatum ever was as a high-schooler, but currently lags behind the two-time reigning First Team All-NBA honoree as a shot-maker at the same stage. Don’t be surprised if Flagg closes that gap between now and June 2025, though. He’s been on a steep upward developmental path for well over a year, potentially establishing himself as one of the best draft prospects of the modern era.

The 16-year-old will play his senior season at prep powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida. Cooper Flagg is set to take official visits to Duke, Kansas and Connecticut before making his college choice.

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10 best draft picks in Sixers history, ranked

The Sixers have had their fair share of high draft picks in recent years, and it’s safe say that there’s been a mixed bag of results from those hauls. But for all the misses in that time, there have been a couple of notable hits – well, at least one, and harking back further than that, the Sixers have also picked up a couple of the game’s greats on draft night. These are the best ten draft picks in Sixers franchise history.

10. Jrue Holiday (Pick 17, 2009)

In what is a relative rarity on this list, Jrue Holiday hasn’t done his best work in Philadelphia, but given the player he has become, this was an excellent selection at pick 17. He played just four seasons with the team but got better in each of them, averaging 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in the last of them while exhibiting the tenacious defense for which he is now so well-renowned. He has subsequently gone on to have a brilliant career in Milwaukee and New Orleans, so while the Sixers didn’t enjoy the spoils of their savvy selection, it was a good pick nonetheless.

9. Doug Collins (Pick 1, 1973)

Doug Collins was perhaps never the out and out superstar that a franchise invariably hopes for from a pick 1, but he was a very good player for them across his eight years in the NBA and played a key role in some successful Philadelphia teams. After a couple of dire seasons for the team in 1973-74 and 1974-75, they returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years in Collins’ third year with the team, with his 20 points per game a major reason why. That was the first of four consecutive All-Star selections for the 6’6″ guard, a period during which the Sixers won at least 46 games every year and made the NBA Finals in 1976-77. They would go on to do that once more in his time there, though unfortunately he just missed out on the ultimate success, which the team achieved two years after his premature retirement due to injury.

8. Andre Iguodala (Pick 9, 2004)

Andre Iguodala has enjoyed an illustrious career across a number of different franchises, but it was the Sixers who first drafted the defensive stalwart. And while the latter years of his career, and in particular his success with the Warriors, has been defined by that defense, he was more than capable at the other end of the floor during his eight seasons with the Sixers, too. He averaged close to 20 points per game to go with around six boards and five assists during the middle four years he spent in Philadelphia, and he was deservedly rewarded with an NBA-All Defensive Second Team appearance, and was voted an All-Star in 2012 – his last year with the team.

7. Maurice Cheeks (Pick 36, 1978)

Maurice Cheeks is the Sixers’ all-time leader in assists and was four times voted to the All-Star team during his 11 seasons in Philadelphia. All that for a guy the franchise picked up with the 36th pick in the 1978 draft. Cheeks was a valuable addition to a team which had already spent a number of seasons challenging for a championship, and with him at the helm they not only continued that trend, but finally broke through in 1982-83 in their third NBA Finals appearance in four years. Cheeks was an important part of that team, and in the team’s 4-0 sweep of the Lakers in the Finals averaged 15.3 points, 6.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He was a really important player in a period of great success for the Sixers, and that he was picked so late makes this an even better selection.

6. Chet Walker (Pick 12, 1962)

After displaying plenty of ability in his first couple of seasons, Chet Walker was forced to play second fiddle throughout the rest of his seven years with the Sixers because of the addition of a guy by the name of Wilt Chamberlain. But he did a pretty damn good job of it, combining with Chamberlain to make one of the best front courts of all-time. That front court helped them to 68 wins in 1966-67 in what was one of the best teams of all time, a team that ultimately beat the Warriors 4-2 in the NBA Finals. He made one of his seven All-Star appearances that year and took his game to another level in the Finals, averaging 23.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in the six-game series.

5. Hal Greer (Pick 14, 1958)

Chamberlain and Walker weren’t the only stars on that dominant 1967 team. In his ninth season playing for the Sixers, Hal Greer also played a pivotal role, and making this selection even better was the fact that he went on to play another six seasons with the team after the championship. All in all he played for 15 years for the Sixers, establishing himself as one of the greats of the franchise with an illustrious career which included, aside from that championship, 10 All-Star appearances, seven selections on the All-NBA Second Team, and an All-Star Game MVP to boot. He also led the team in scoring during their playoff run in 1967, and unsurprisingly had his jersey retired by the team after his career.

4. Billy Cunningham (Pick 5, 1965)

Yet another member of that 1967 championship team, Billy Cunningham has left an indelible mark on the Sixers franchise both as a player and a coach. He spent seven years with the team after being drafted with the fifth pick in 1965 and proved himself to be a prolific scorer on a team full of them, showcasing that ability with the first 50-point playoff game in franchise history in 1970. All up, his career with the Sixers yielded 654 games in which he averaged a 20-point double-double and four assists. After retiring at the conclusion of the 1975-76 season, Cunningham also went on to coach the franchise for eight years between 1977 and 1985.

3. Charles Barkley (Pick 5, 1985)

The first half of Charles Barkley’s illustrious 16-year career in the NBA was spent in Philly, after he was selected with the fifth pick in the 1985 draft. During his time there – and after he left – he racked up awards like they were going out of fashion, and by the end of his career was an 11x All-Star, 11x All-NBA player, and MVP. A lot of that damage he did with the Sixers. His numbers were pretty wild basically from his second year onwards, during which he averaged 23 points, 14.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists, while in his third he averaged 28.3, 11.9 and 3.2. Those numbers would go on to become commonplace for Sir Charles, who has long been the number two player on this list – and would likely still be there if he wasn’t traded to Phoenix in 1992.

2. Joel Embiid (Pick 3, 2014)

Sixers fans have long been told to Trust the Process, and while that process has endured plenty of speed bumps, Joel Embiid is helping to make it all worth it. The Cameroonian big man has developed into the dominant force in the NBA after an injury-riddled start to his career, and the 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists he managed in 2022-23 saw him collect the first of what could easily be multiple MVP Awards across the course of his career. Injuries mean that nine years after he was drafted, he’s still played just 394 games for the team, but averages of 27.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists across that time suggest he’s been pretty effective when on the court. Of course, the major thing missing from Embiid’s record at this point is success in the playoffs, something he’ll need if he’s to get near the number one name on this list.

1. Allen Iverson (Pick 1, 1996)

A championship also happens to be the one thing missing from Allen Iverson’s resume, but while he couldn’t bring the ultimate success to the Sixers, he nonetheless lives on in the hearts and minds of fans all around the City of Brotherly Love. Iverson won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1997 with ridiculous first season numbers of 23.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists and never looked back, going on to play for the team for ten memorable seasons. He was a perennial All-Star during that time, and in 2001 won the MVP in his first of two consecutive seasons averaging over 31 points, and the fourth of nine consecutive seasons averaging at least 26. Iverson put the Sixers back on the map after they’d spent numerous years prior in the doldrums, and for the time being at least, is clearly the best draft picks the Sixers have ever made.

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8 best draft picks in Kings history, ranked

Life hasn’t always been easy for the Sacramento Kings. Small market teams are never going to have a whole lot of pulling power when it comes to the free agency market, making the draft all the more important, and a lot of the Kings’ woes, particularly in recent times, can be attributed to their misses on the draft board. But while they have historically been pretty average on draft day, they’ve still managed to make plenty of good picks over the years. These are the eight best draft picks in Kings history.

8. Kevin Martin (Pick 26, 2004)

Kevin Martin’s first season wasn’t exactly filled with promise. In 45 games, he averaged 10.1 minutes, 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds, and didn’t exactly look like the diamond in the rough he ultimately proved to be. But the former 26th pick upped his game significantly in both his second and third season, and by the latter was averaging 20.2 points. He bumped that up even further over the next couple of years to the point where he was one of the better scorers in the league, averaging 24.6 points and shooting 41.5% from three-point range in 2008-09. In all, Martin played five and a half years of his 12-year NBA career in Sacramento, and for a 26th pick provided them with plenty of output.

7. Jack Twyman (Pick 8, 1955)

Heading back a few years now, to when Jack Twyman was selected with the eighth pick by the then Rochester Royals. Though he was overshadowed by a couple of bigger names on the team, Twyman carved out a fantastic career for the team, playing all of his 11 seasons in the league in Sacramento and ultimately having his jersey retired by the franchise. A 6x All-Star, Twyman’s most productive season came in 1959-60, when he averaged a huge 31.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists on a struggling team. His numbers didn’t ever reach those heights again, but he played a key role on the Kings as they worked their way back into relevance over the next few seasons.

6. Peja Stojakovic (Pick 14, 1996)

Peja Stojakovic is one of the better picks this franchise has made in the Sacramento Kings era, playing over seven seasons with the team after being drafted with pick 14. He averaged 8.4 points in his first season and 11.9 in his second, but after that he would go on to average over 19 points in each of his next five seasons with the team. He was twice an NBA All-Star with the Kings and was voted to the All-NBA Second Team in 2004, and the sharpshooting that saw him max out at 43.3% from three in 2003-04 saw him twice win the Three-Point Contest. Stojakovic went on to have a good career elsewhere after his time at the Kings came to a close, but nonetheless his number 16 hangs in the rafters at the Golden 1 Center.

5. DeMarcus Cousins (Pick 5, 2010)

DeMarcus Cousins’ time in Sacramento is, unfortunately, synonymous with a distinct lack of success, with the team never winning more than 33 games in a season during his six full seasons with the team. But while his stats may have been bolstered by the lack of support he had around him, there’s no denying just how significant an impact Boogie had on the team. The domineering big man provided long-suffering Kings fans with a reason to tune in during a very difficult era, consistently averaging in the mid-high 20s, double-figure rebounds and a few assists per game to boot. He was a 4x All-Star and twice on the All-NBA Second Team, and by far the best years of his career came while he was in Sacramento, with injuries derailing him after he left.

4. Isaiah Thomas (Pick 60, 2011)

Isaiah Thomas didn’t have a long career in Sacramento, but in terms of value for pick number he could be at number one on this list. The 5’9″ point guard slipped all the way down the draft board largely because, well, he was 5’9″, but with the last pick of the draft, the Kings gave him a chance. At his height life was always going to be difficult in the big league, but he found a way to make his mark during his three seasons with the Kings, and in his third of those averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists. But the popular point guard’s career in Sacramento ended there as he was shipped off to Phoenix, but it was at his next stop in Boston where he made the biggest impact. With the Celtics, he was a 2x All-Star and in 2017 was a member of the All-NBA Second Team for his 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game – not bad for a pick 60.

3. De’Aaron Fox (Pick 5, 2017)

When De’Aaron Fox was drafted in 2017, the Kings hadn’t made the playoffs for over ten years. It’s safe to say they were in desperate need of a win on draft day, and Fox has certainly filled that need. In his first five seasons he showed consistent improvement, but unfortunately the team didn’t, extending their playoff drought to 15 years. But with Domantas Sabonis joining the fray and a number of other good pieces around him, he has developed into a high level NBA player, and in 2022-23 led the team back to the playoffs at long last. Fox won a host of accolades that year – he was an NBA All-Star, voted to the All-NBA Third Team, and won the NBA Clutch Player of the Year Award for his league-leading last quarter numbers. Fox’s career still has a long way to go, but at just 25 years of age he has the opportunity to develop into one of the greats of the franchise.

2. Nate Archibald (Pick 19, 1970)

Even if he was selected with pick one, Nate Archibald would be right at the top of this list – the fact that the then Cincinnati Royals got him at pick 19 makes this selection even better. ‘Tiny’, as he was affectionately known, would go on to have a Hall of Fame worthy career, ending as a 6x All-Star, 5x All-NBA, and NBA champion. Unfortunately that championship didn’t come with the Kings, but nonetheless the six years he spent with the franchise was enough for him to go down as one of the greats. The diminutive point guard didn’t take long to make his mark on the league – after a solid first season, he went on to average 28.2 points and 9.2 assists in his second, and an incredible 34.0 and 11.4 in his third. Those are historic numbers, and though he wouldn’t ever repeat them, he continued to put up big numbers every year for the rest of his time with the team. He would go on to play for three other franchises, most notably the Boston Celtics, but never was he as influential as he was during his initial years with the Kings.

1. Oscar Robertson (Pick 1, 1960)

Could this ever have been anyone else? Oscar Robertson might have been an easy selection for the Royals, but the extraordinary career he would go on to have with them makes him an obvious number one on this list. The Big O would go on to play ten seasons with the franchise, and it’s safe to say they were pretty good ones. He dominated from the outset, averaging an incredible 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists in his first season in the league, while he went even better the next year with 30.8, 12.5 and 11.4. The original triple-double machine, Robertson led the team to six consecutive playoff appearances between 1962 and 1967, though unfortunately they never made it past the Division Finals in that time. Robertson ended his career as one of the most decorated players in league history, a 12x All-Star, 9x All-NBA First Team member, and league MVP. He got the championship he deserved with the Bucks in 1971, and had his jersey retired by both teams for which he was such a dominant force.

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10 best draft picks in Mavs history, ranked

The NBA draft can make or break a franchise, with teams’ ability to both capitalize on their high draft picks, and to find diamonds in the rough further down the draft board, pivotal in their subsequent success – or lack thereof. The Mavericks’ ability to be continually competitive since the turn of the century can be in no small part attributed to their performance at the draft, with a number of quality selections having a massive impact on their franchise. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ten best draft picks in Mavericks history.

10. Jamal Mashburn (Pick 4, 1993)

With the Mavericks an absolute basket case in the early parts of the 1990s, Jamal Mashburn was their second consecutive pick four after Jim Jackson was selected with the same pick the year prior. They, along with a pretty handy point guard who will be mentioned a little later in this list, helped to at least make the team moderately competitive, with Mashburn’s 1994-95 season particularly impressive. He averaged 24.1 points in his second season as the Mavs jumped from 13 wins to 36, while the next year he backed that up with similar numbers. Unfortunately he would only play three and a half seasons with the team, but he was a good player while there.

9. Detlef Schrempf (Pick 8, 1985)

The bulk of a very good career for Detlef Schrempf occurred outside of Dallas, which makes it hard to place him on this list, but though he only played three and a half seasons for the Mavericks, the quality of his career makes it hard to say that this was anything but a very good pick. In his time with the Mavericks, the German averaged less than ten points in around 20 minutes per game, numbers which ballooned once he moved to Indiana midway through the 1988-89 season. Unfortunately they didn’t get nearly what they should have for him in that trade, but the draft pick in and of itself was a very good one.

8. Jalen Brunson (Pick 33, 2018)

Jalen Brunson is still only five seasons into his NBA career at the time of writing and by far the best season of his career to date came in the only one of those which he didn’t play in Dallas, but nonetheless, for a second rounder he was a pretty savvy pick. The 6’2″ point guard played four seasons in Dallas, improving in each of them to the point where he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists in his fourth and final year with the team. He subsequently opted to join the Knicks in free agency, and the 24 points per game he averaged in his first season there highlight what a good selection this was at pick 33 – it’s just a shame he did it in New York.

7. Josh Howard (Pick 29, 2003)

He might not have been the most popular player in history, but Josh Howard was a mighty good one for the Mavericks, especially for a 29th pick in the NBA draft. He played seven and a half seasons with the team and played a pivotal role in their 2005-06 run to the NBA Finals, a season in which he averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Those numbers improved to nearly 20 points per game over the next three seasons, before his output dwindled in the first half of 2009-10 and he was subsequently shipped off to Washington. Aiding the significance of this draft pick even further was what the Mavericks got for him, with three first round picks coming their way for a player who they initially picked deep in the first round.

6. Derek Harper (Pick 11, 1983)

From here this list gets a little easier, with players who the Mavericks drafted who went on to not just have good careers, but to have good careers in Dallas. Derek Harper went on to have a 16-year NBA career after being drafted with the 11th pick, and the first 11 of those were with the Mavericks. In that time he played 872 games for the franchise – the third most in history – and is their current all-time leader in both assists and steals. Though things went off the boil during the latter stages of his time with the Mavs, they were a consistently competitive team with Harper running the show, and he was a major reason why.

5. Mark Aguirre (Pick 1, 1981)

1981 was a pretty good draft for the Mavericks. After winning just 15 games in their inaugural season in the league, they had two picks inside the top ten, including the first one, and they made it count. Mark Aguirre was the first, and from the outset of his career it was clear that he had plenty of talent. After averaging 18.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his first year, he improved rapidly and by his third season, those numbers had jumped up to 29.5 points on 52.4% shooting, 5.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists. In all he played seven and a half season in Dallas, which was enough time to have him currently in third place in career points for the franchise.

4. Rolando Blackman (Pick 9, 1981)

A few selections after Aguirre, the Mavs selected Rolando Blackman, and while his numbers don’t quite jump off the page like his teammate, the fact that he played 11 seasons with the team and was drafted with pick nine makes him an even better selection. Blackman’s career with the Mavs was incredibly consistent – his first year aside, he averaged between 17 and 23 points, and right around 3.5 rebounds and assists each and every season with the team. Unsurprisingly, that consistency combined with his longevity has him right up there in a number of career categories for Dallas – he’s fourth in total games, second in points, sixth in assists and eighth in rebounds for the team.

3. Jason Kidd (Pick 2, 1994)

This pick could be looked at in a couple of different ways, but the cold hard facts are that Jason Kidd, after being selected with the second pick in 1994, turned into one of the best point guards in the history of the game, and a fairly significant portion of his illustrious career was spent in Dallas. The best of his years came while he was with the Suns and the Nets, but two and a half seasons for which he represented the Mavs at the start of his career and the four and a half at the end were still pretty damn good. He was an All-Star in two of them, and most importantly played a key role in their first and only NBA championship in 2010-11.

2. Luka Doncic (Pick 3, 2018)

Technically, of course, Luka Doncic was drafted by the Hawks, but given he was always headed to the Mavericks via trade, this is very much a draft day move. And what a move it was. The majority of Doncic’s career is still yet to play out, but five years in it’s already pretty clear what kind of player he is. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season in the league with averages of 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists, and in the four years since those numbers have moved to close to a 30-point triple-double. He’s been an All-Star and All-NBA First Team member in each of those last four seasons, and has long ago established himself as one of the best players in the world – and he’s still just 24 years old. The Mavericks haven’t yet enjoyed a great deal of success with him there – though they did make the Conference Finals in 2021-22 – but the potential is there for him to become the greatest Maverick of all time if he hangs around – no mean feat given who is at number one.

1. Dirk Nowitzki (Pick 9, 1998)

When a lanky German was drafted with the ninth pick in 1998, even the most ardent optimist couldn’t have predicted the kind of player he would become. The greatest player in Mavericks history, Dirk Nowitzki revolutionized the power forward position and acquired all sorts of accolades over the course of his 20 years in Dallas. He was a 14x All-Star, 12x All-NBA, the MVP in 2007, and most importantly, an NBA  champion and Finals MVP in 2011. The sixth leading scorer in NBA history, he has nearly twice as many points in anyone else in Mavericks history, and well over double as many rebounds. He will forever be remembered as a great of the game, and is, for the time being at least, far and away the best draft selection in Mavericks history.

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